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  • Focus and Time

    Focus and Time

    Q: I've been playing bass for five years, and I see that bass players that have been playing for three years who are way better than me! I focus on my modes, then on chord structure and then I focus on arpeggios... and it becomes hard for me to get technique down. What do you… »

  • How To: Adjusting Bass Pickups

    How To: Adjusting Bass Pickups

    In response to the my last column on bass pickups (Bass Pickups: A Guide to Formulating Your Sound) we received a request from a reader to cover the topic of setting up pickup height. Because everyone plays differently and every bass is different - even when comparing two similar models from the same company -… »

  • Rants and Doodles

    Rants and Doodles

    So, I had a night off and decided to go see some music at a local club here in Portland, Oregon. It was early in the night when I was faced with one of my biggest musical pet peeves: noodling on stage before your set. In short: please, don't do it! This was a friend's… »

  • Classical Pieces for Beginner to Intermediate Level Bassists

    Classical Pieces for Beginner to Intermediate Level Bassists

    This week, Dr. D. tackles a reader's question about incorporating classical music into his practice routine. Q: I have recently started the switch to upright bass, I have been practicing technique and working my scales (pissing off my roommates) but I want to bring a third portion to my practice and incorporate some beginner classical… »

  • Custom Shop: The Making of Orchid (Part 3)

    Custom Shop: The Making of Orchid (Part 3)

    This week, we continuing the series on the making of Orchid, a custom bass by Rick Toone. If you missed it, check out Part 1 and Part 2. Trapezoid Neck Profile Ebony facing is glued to the headstock. Next, the fretboard, headstock and contours are precisely shaped, including the patented Trapezoid Neck Profile used on… »

  • Ready, Set… What To Play?

    Ready, Set… What To Play?

    Q: When I'm in jam situations and someone asks me to "kick it off" or start something, I just freeze and draw a blank. How do you know what to play? A: This is something we've all dealt with at some point. The problem is all in our minds. Our analytical and critical minds see… »

  • Willie Dixon: Preserving the Legacy

    Willie Dixon: Preserving the Legacy

    In today’s fast paced world it’s not uncommon for us to overlook the legacies of those who paved the way for so many bassists who came later. Thankfully, a new website dedicated to the life and legacy of Willie Dixon will help ensure the legendary bluesman’s landmark contributions to bass playing, the blues, and helping… »

  • Doing the Best You Can

    Doing the Best You Can

    Q: I tend to get very nervous before any live performance. How do you deal with performance anxiety? A: Everyone, at some point in their development, gets nervous before a gig or feels inadequate to the task at hand. It's natural. The best thing you can do is over prepare! Still, the nerves are there.… »

  • Technique Series: Pizzicato (Plucking) Exercises

    Technique Series: Pizzicato (Plucking) Exercises

    The simple, straightforward exercises below are the best I have seen to develop and maintain right hand pizzicato (plucking) on the upright bass. They isolate the technique to focus one just one thing: your right hand technique. There is certainly room in a practice routine to work on right hand/left hand coordination, or tricky patterns,… »

  • When the Song Plays Itself

    When the Song Plays Itself

    I just got back from a week spent in a recording studio in Northern California, a singer-songwriter session with Alice DiMicele. The band was absolutely smoking and we tracked 16 tunes in four days (complete with horns). The band included some guys who have been around the block quite a few times and have recorded… »